In 2017 Flourish being intentional things I'm loving

Things I'm Loving {November '17}

1.) Alias Grace

While it isn't nearly as gripping as The Handmaids Tale (come on April 2018, I need season 2!), it was still a very interesting and well done adaptation of a book. Thank you Netflix for providing me with two days of entertainment! Also, perhaps I ought to try harder to space out my viewing of shows?

2.) My husband

Allow me to be a little mushy for a moment, because right now I'm loving Nathan. Because November 7th should have been baby #3's second birthday, which triggered a super fun depressive episode that resulted in a crying, listless, overly-emotional mess named Camille that lasted for two days. By now, when this happens, Nathan just moves into babysitter mode, making sure I'm a stable kind of depressed, not a dangerous kind of depressed. And for that, and for the lack of judgement and plethora of patience, I love him.

3.) Holiday Planning 

This year I'm hosting my first Thanksgiving, so I've been having a blast creating a menu and even sending out invitation via email.
And then there's Christmas, I've started my Christmas shopping and planning and even making the decorations for our pod at work (Nightmare Before Christmas themed!!).

4.) Stranger Things 2

Like the rest of the population, I loved season 2, and it just made me even more excited for season 3! Dustin is adorable, and seeing the characters grow (like the rest of the world, I really loved Steve by the end of this season) just made me happy. Also, I started following them on Twitter and they're just as adorable in real life!

What are you loving this month? Link up below! 

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In foster foster care. foster parents

Lorain County Foster Care: What You Need

When we began looking into foster care, I jumped online and found a ton of information. Some of it conflicting. Some of it only pertaining to specific states or regions. So, I thought I'd type up a post of what is needed to become a licensed foster parent and foster-to-adopt in Lorain County, Ohio. 

1.) You and you spouse/partner must take 36 hours of training classes, they are offered quarterly in Lorain county and the current class schedule can be found here.  

2.) You must undergo a home study, which takes 3-6 months, and a lot of paperwork.

To gather on your own (and make copies): 
- Five year proof of residency for each person applying as a foster parent
- Four references, only one can be a family member. They do not need to write a letter.
- Professional references for any job/volunteering that involved children.
- Marriage verification (if applicable).
- Divorce verification (if applicable).
- Child support order and compliance (if applicable).
- Proof of legal residence for all household members (ie. a birth certificate).
-Military discharge papers (if applicable).
- Veterinary records for all pets, must be current.
- Landlord permission letter if renting.
- Proof of Auto Insurance.
- Copy of driver's license for all drivers in the household.
- Copy of homeowners/renters insurance policy.
- Picture of the family (current).
- Utility bills dated within 6 months of licensing (gas, water, electric, sewage, phone).
- W-2 or Income Tax Return for most recent year for each applicant.
- Pay stubs for a two month period, dated within 6 months of licensing.

To get from the home study assessor and then do:
- Individual questionnaire
- Child characteristic checklist (for example, would you be willing to consider accepting a child that steals?)
- Evacuation plan for each floor of the home.
- Disaster plan.
- W-9's.
- Financial Form
- Car seat information/letter

Things to do: 
- Be fingerprinted and background checked by LCCS
- Medicals on each person in the home to sign off that all are healthy.
- TB test on everyone age 14 or older.
- Fire inspection by local fire department.
- Drug tests for everyone age 14 or older.
- Get fire extinguisher/ smoke detectors as required by fire department.
- Put all medications in a lock box.
- Have the room prepared for inspection
- If you are accepting children 0-2, have the crib already set up to be inspected. 

Others pieces of the puzzle: 
- Prepare for an individual interview with the homestudy assessor.
- Be prepared to make changes to the house as needed.
- Provide the names of three alternative caregivers that will have to be fingerprinted and go through a basic home inspection in order to be allowed to babysit your foster children.
- Expect 4-6 home visits with the homestudy assessor, one of which will be a surprise visit, and expect the visits to last 1.5-3 hours.

As we continue going through the process I may update this, or have more posts! But we've had people ask us what is needed and required, and this is a pretty solid place to start.

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In 2017 Flourish foster care foster parents Halloween monthly learning Things I Learned

Express Kidnapping? [October Learning]

October is over! What a crazy quick month, for me mostly because the first three weeks of it were spent in foster care training, and then to end it we wrapped up with Halloween festivities.

1.) Express Kidnapping

I went to a risk management seminar for work (travel involves risk, who knew?). There are different types of kidnapping, and an express kidnapping is when you get kidnapped, taken to different ATM's to withdraw cash, and then are dropped off somewhere naked without your possessions.

2.) Two Reactions to Foster Care

When we tell people we are pursuing our foster care license there are only two reactions we get:

- That's so good/noble/awesome. You'll be great foster parents, any kid would be lucky to have you in their life!
- There's good money to be made in that!

Yeah, you can guess which reaction makes me a little angry. Because obviously, the only reason to open your home to a child is to be compensated for it right? And kids don't cost money, especially little ones, they don't outgrow all their clothes every three months and require diapers and wipes and formula and baby food. But hey, it's one way for me to be able to see who will be there and supportive as we go through this.

3.) Not every child has books

I volunteered to be Jace's class reader, meaning I'll go in when I can and read to the kids two at a time. What I didn't realize was that some of his kindergarten classmates are never read to. Some had to have books sent home to do the book report pumpkin project because they have no books in their home. And it broke my heart because one of my favorite things to do with Jace is reading to him and going to the library to pick out new books.

2017 Goals Update:

I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status: Only one more book until I've reached my goal!

2.) Meditate daily

Current Status: No meditation this month.

3.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: Post number 6 of the month, another successful month in the life of this blogger.

4.) Write!

Current Status: I opened back up my old journal and began writing again, but did not write anything to submit for publication this month.

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In loss miscarriage one in four pregnancy

My First Miscarriage

October 15th is recognized worldwide as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

This month I'm also three years out from my first loss.

It's interesting, but of all the things I've posted about, I've never told the stories on here. I've never penned the story of  when I learned they were gone. They're painful stories, but they're part of my story.

On October 28th, 2014, I had scheduled my first doctor appointment for my second pregnancy. I was just over 6 weeks along, and went into the office without a care in the world. We'd already taken pictures to announce the pregnancy and announce Jace as big brother.

They weighed me, measured me, took my blood pressure, then took me back to the ultrasound room, and began to do the ultrasound.

She pointed out the uterus, and kept moving the wand, but wasn't saying anything else. She couldn't find anything. She asked if I was sure about the date of my last period, and I was, I knew without a doubt because I had been doing all the tracking that comes with trying. She double checked the results of the urine test, which showed that I was pregnant. And then she sent me for blood work, and an appointment for two days later to redraw the blood and see what the results showed.

I texted my mom as I walked to the lab for a blood draw, sent a text apologizing to Sarah (who was babysitting Jace) for taking longer than expected at the doctor, and when they were done with me at the hospital, I drove to Sarah's. I picked up Jace and drove straight to Gabby's house, knocking at her door with Jace on my hip, no warning whatsoever. Jace and I stayed with her that evening, since Nathan was at work, and when he got a break and could call I stood out on her front porch sharing the update with him.

It was a blurry day in between, and when I went back in on Thursday they did the blood work first and then I had to wait to see the doctor.

When the nurse took me back she weighed me and said something that I can't recall, but I responded and said "I just did more blood work to see what my HCG levels went up or down." She looked at me and said, "Oh honey, they went down, you've definitely lost the pregnancy."

I was led into a room and sat down to wait for the doctor, holding in tears because I don't like to cry in front of other people, especially strangers. The doctor sat down and told me that my HCG level had dropped, but not dropped as rapidly as was typical, based on that and on the ultrasound there was a chance that the pregnancy was ectopic, so I had two options.

I could do an exploratory laparotomy, if the pregnancy was ectopic they would remove it and the fallopian tube it was in, and perform a D&C if it wasn't. The other option was to continue coming in for blood work and monitoring because if it was ectopic I would end up coming in through the ER. I opted for the first and was told to arrive at the hospital at 6:00 am the next morning, Halloween.

I remember Seth coming to the hospital to sit with Nathan while I went into surgery. I remember the ride home being too bumpy and full of tears. And I remember my parents arriving to help take care of me, and laying on the couch watching The Goldbergs with my dad while my mom and Nathan took Jace out to trick or treat.

It's been three years, and it still hurts. I still mourn and look at the scars on my abdomen that remind me that it really happened. I say it quite a bit, but the pain never goes away, it just becomes more livable.

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